Seed of Evil is the first expansion for Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden, a tactical strategy game with real-time stealth elements set in the world of the tabletop RPG of the same name. Seed of Evil has been released in a packaged Deluxe edition for the port to Switch, which coincides with the release of the expansion. While Seed of Evil does add a new character, several guns, and several new areas to explore, it has an unmistakable air of cut content that unfortunately diminishes the value of an otherwise solid chapter.
Seed of Evil continues the journey of Bormin, Dux, and a company of other mutants as they search for their missing Elder. Along the way, they discover a new mutant enemy that has the power to turn ghouls into creepy vine-covered zombies. While Seed of Evil does manage to wrap up some aspects of the original's cliffhanger ending, it manages to ask more questions in the end. And, in a weird way, it ends up asking the same questions from the base game's ending, again.
By 'continues the journey,' I mean literally continues right where you left off. Launching Seed of Evil drops you into the last checkpoint before the twist is revealed and the final cut-scene of the base game begins to play. You'll watch the cutscene - getting a helpful refresher if you're returning after a break - before watching the credits again. I momentarily thought I had accidentally loaded a save rather than started the expansion - but after the credits rolled another cutscene began to play. It starts "weeks later," and I was eventually dropped into a new zone to explore.
It isn't a great first impression for the expansion, especially considering how abrupt the end of the base game comes. It would probably be a better experience were they to skip the "previously on" and start with the "weeks later" scene. As it is with the credits and everything, it really made me feel like I had just bought the rest of the game the developers didn't have time to finish before launch.
Furthermore, you begin Seed just as you left Eden: all of the money you spent, life you lost, and items you used for the last battle carry over to the beginning of the expansion. Knowing it was the final battle, I went buck wild chucking grenades and buying upgrades, only to drop back in with a battered, beaten-down team trying to start a new adventure. It wasn't the most welcome start, and I felt pretty overwhelmed trying to remember my builds, equipment, and just generally how to play the game.
Eventually, I got back into the swing of things, and the apparent XP boost I received until about level 80 didn't hurt either. By the time I met the new character, Big Khan, I had my mutant legs under me and I was ready to blast some ghouls.
Big Khan is a great additional tank to your team, and a welcome replacement for Bormin, who I had spent the entire base game with. Big Khan can spit fire on enemies, which is good for getting them to reposition. But the best use I found for the Moose-Man was with a new ability he has to jump far distances, crash through structures, and land on enemies. I wished he was a little beefier like Borman by the time I got him fully leveled, but he was still a lot of fun to strategize with.
Beyond that, Seed Of Evil is really just more of the same. One of the new enemy types can spawn more enemies, so planning how to take them down quickly adds a bit of nuance to the battlefield. The rest of the new enemy types aren't much to write home about, and though I found a handful of new guns, their use-case was fairly niche and I ended up mostly just using my fully-leveled guns from the base game. The characters don't get new abilities, but there are a handful of subtle upgrades to existing abilities that do make them feel more useful. There are also new passives that can be purchased using artifacts, but honestly, I think I finished the game without unlocking a single new one.
The game has the same shtick of characters misinterpreting the functions of relics from the ancient world. When happening upon a tank, for example, Dux will comment how the vehicle is poorly designed because it has such a long exhaust coming out of the top. It's a little one-note, but its clever enough that the joke still works for me, and I was delighted each and every time it happened in the expansion.
Seed Of Evil is clearly meant to be played right after finishing the base game, as evidence by the Deluxe Edition branding, clumsy start-at-the-end opener, and a 5-hour campaign that doesn't add much. I enjoyed my time with Seed of Evil just as I enjoyed my time with Road to Eden. But the presentation left a bad taste in my mouth, making me feel like I had been parted from my $15 under false pretenses. If you or someone you know likes X-COM-likes and is getting into Mutant Year Zero for the first time, I say jump in with both feet and have a blast - but if you've already experienced the base game and are considering returning, wait for a sale on this one. You'll feel much better about spending 5 more hours in the game if you can save a buck or two.
3.5 Out Of 5 Stars
A review copy for Seed of Evil was purchased by the reviewer for this review. Seed of Evil is available now for the Nintendo Switch and Steam.